My Favorite Mixed Media Essentials: 2. Gesso

Yesterday I talked about Acrylic Paint as my favorite Essential but that is followed very close by Gesso – I looooveee Gesso!

Gesso is like a magic bullet. Seriously. Gesso should be in your craft room….there is no doubt about it! If my Mixed Media Essentials were characters of Harry Potter…Gesso would be Dumbledore …and come one…who doesn’t want Dumbledore in their studio helping with some spells of Love ;)

What I love about Gesso is:

  • It can be applied to many surfaces like canvas, fabric, wood etc. and creates a surface that can be painted on.
  • It gives  tooth. So you can paint also surfaces where usually paint would not grab on- for example Metal.
  • There is thicker Gesso and thinner Gesso. You can find white, black and clear Gesso – there are even other colored Gessos but I would say these are the most used ones. You can always change the color with Acrylic Paint yourself.
  • It is an amazing medium to add texture with tools and household items, embedding supplies or by using it with stencils etc.
  • It is the cure whenever something went totally wrong…just paint over with gesso ….it is the magic bullet ;)
  • White Gesso is the cheapest white paint ;)
  • It is amazing to tone down or change colors of your backgrounds or scrapbooking papers
  • there is a huge amount of techniques including resist techniques with gesso that you can do -ahhh- happy mixed media land :)

Here are some examples:

White gesso for textured background and on flowers used

treated background with stencils, embedded elements and then spray painted

creating texture with Gesso before using paint media

primed a frame with clear gesso and then used here and there translucent and opaque paint media

Black gesso for texture, torn open to reveal background again

Gesso to create handmade textured embellishments

Clear and white gesso used to create this moody textured background

Embedded chipboard elements in gesso

Just pulling those projects together makes me wanna go into my room and play with Gesso again!

Which Gesso I use:

As always in this series- the answer to this question is based on my preferences, my style and my experiences

  • I do use white, clear and black gesso.
  • Lately I use Liquitex Gessos a lot- I love the consistency, coverage as they are highly pigmented and their consistence. I have only seen the clear gesso by Liquitex btw. For the black Gesso I used mostly Golden.
  • I tend to like the thicker gesso more- I don’t like the liquid stuff- makes sense, because I love texture and you can water gesso down…so why waste money on the thin stuff?
  • I used to buy big buckets of Gesso – which makes sense if you use them up in a workshop right away with lot’s of students, but now I buy smaller jars, even with my crazy usage of gesso, I had it dry out after a while and then it was a waste of money.
  • When you start out and you just want to get a feel for Gesso – the Liquitex Basics Gesso is a good start :)


I hope you had fun with this…next up is…Markers and Pens

huge hugs



If you want to learn more about gesso- check out my Über*Media Gesso Online Workshop

Comments (11)

  • Cassandra


    What fabulous ideas!! I never thought of gesso as being quite a star before. Will have to keep an eye out for the black and clear varieties too!


  • jerseytjej


    You can add color to it and use it as a dimensional element, and I wait until it is almost dry, then run it though my bigshot in a embossed folder… :o !


  • Vicki Chrisman


    Well.. wasnt that just a GORGEOUS post! WOW!


  • Jenny Palmer


    fantastic art and so right about gesso
    having so much fun in your gesso class
    this class is awesome


  • PyssligaSara


    Thanks for sharing this great article serie! :)

    I love gesso as well! That is so true what you say about covering up a mistake – that is great. I go by the device: “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – There is always more gesso!” :)


  • Laurie


    I love gesso, too and I loved using it in your class at Bizzy B. Just yesterday I bought the Liquitex Basics gesso….it was before today’s post on the better gesso, LOL. A few days ago I went to buy 2 things: a small fabric remnant, and gesso. $66 later, I came home with the remnant and a ton of stuff I hadn’t planned to buy – and no gesso, which I had forgotten. So yesterday I went back and returned most of the impulse buys, and got the gesso. Now to find the time to use it! I’m going to be busier than I’d like to be for the next couple of days.


  • Sue Clarke


    I remember that frame with the Simple:beautiful on it…simply beautiful!


  • mjmarmo


    Just bought my first jar of Gesso and am anxious to use it!


  • scrappegal


    Lovely blg post! I took your gesso-classin ûbermedia, and loved it!
    And I just LOVE your inspiration projects!! :) :) :) Thanks for inspiring us sooo much!


  • Michelle McCosh


    Gesso is one of my favs too. Love it over or under anything! Great Blog Post!


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 3 MB. You can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.